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Why “Imposter Syndrome” can lead to Chronic Stress & Anxiety – How Leaders can Deal with this syndrome

Linkedin Newsletter – Imposter Syndrome

Have you ever felt like you’re not good enough to do the job you’ve been hired to do — and that your boss might figure it out at any moment?

Or maybe you’ve felt like the numerous achievements, that you have to your credit, can be attributed to sheer luck or chance and that at a deeper level, you doubt your own capabilities.

Spoiler alert: Most other people have felt this way, too, at some point!

No matter how much external evidence there is that we’re successfully navigating our lives, jobs and relationships, many of us hold false beliefs & self-sabotaging doubts, that we aren’t actually as capable as others think we are. This pattern of thinking is called the “Imposter syndrome”.

It isn’t a diagnosis or a medical problem, but a common pattern of thinking that can lead to self-doubt, negative self-talk and missed opportunities.

What is the “Imposter Syndrome” ?

Imposter Syndrome is a psychologically proven pattern of behaviors, frequently causing affected individuals to doubt their own capabilities & skills, while ignoring external evidence & feedback that proves their competence.

These individuals often attribute their successes to chance or plain luck. They also often have faulty feelings & doubts that they may be deceiving others into believing that they are good at what they do.

The Syndrome can be devastating to individuals if not dealt with, in the long run and can lead to persistent stress, anxiety, self-doubt & even more serious afflictions like burnout & depression, if not paid attention to.

Dealing with Imposter Syndrome in the long term requires specific forms of Coaching to build Self-Awareness & to re-wire the mind to create new, healthier mental patterns.

Here are some tips of how leaders or individuals can find helpful, to deal with Imposter Syndrome (IS):

  • Talk about it:  Stress associated with IS can get worse if nothing is done about it. Talking with a Coach or Confidante about your fears, anxiety, emotions & stress can feel incredibly relieving
  • Identify Root-Level Self-Limiting Beliefs: Work with a coach to identify root-level self-limiting beliefs. Typically these beliefs form during our childhood/formative years & they stay with us throughout our lives (if not dealt with), limiting our opportunity for growth, if we don’t become aware of them & deal with them. Leaders suffering from Imposter Syndrome often have beliefs like “I am not good enough” or “I should be perfect for the approval & recognition from others”
  • Learn to train the mind to label negative “Judge” thoughts: Self-doubt, which is the most common element of IS, is often caused by self-sabotaging “Judge” thought patterns of our mind, which lead individuals to judge their own abilities. Becoming aware and training the mind to label these thoughts as they emerge, and to dissociate the self from these thoughts is incredibly powerful. This helps in reinforcing the reality that our thoughts are just that – Thoughts, and they are not necessarily the reality
  • Focus on the Facts : Write down a list of accomplishments & focus on them for positive self-assurance, whenever the negative thoughts start weighing you down
  • Preempt negative thought patterns with Visualizations : Before a challenging task or presentation, do a closed-eye visualization exercise where you visualize how it would feel after the task is completed successfully. Neuroscience research has proven the benefits of closed-eye visualizations in creation of new neural pathways that activate healthier behavioural and thought patterns. The mental re-wiring done during the visualization would help you handle actual challenging task in the future, without the usual self-doubt, stress or anxiety.

With the right help from a Coach that is trained in this kind of work, Imposter Syndrome can be dealt with, paving the way for powerful growth for an individual or leader.

Join the conversation and share in comments below your experience with the Imposter Syndrome or if you have seen this syndrome in anyone else in your social circle or workplace.

If you would like to have a 1-1 conversation with me on this topic, feel free to setup a Free Zoom coffee conversation using the following link :



I assist leaders & professionals with Mind-Training tools to overcome the inner interferences (like the Imposter Syndrome) that come in the way of their peak performance, well-being & happiness.

Our Signature 10-Week Mind-Training Program combines Positive Intelligence Coaching with a unique Mind-Training Mobile App (for guided mind training exercises). The program is based on powerful research in Neuroscience & Positive Psychology, and is aimed at re-wiring the brain, so that you can tame the negative self-talk and disruptive emotions generated by the mind and empower yourself to step out fearlessly to embrace the life that you have always dreamt of. 

*PQ & Positive Intelligence are registered trademarks of Positive Intelligence LLC

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